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Voter Guide 2000 | STATE POLITICS

California Propositions


Californians will decide on eight statewide ballot measures Tuesday, addressing some of the state's most consequential political issues.

From campaign finance reform to school vouchers, California voters will wade into some of the nation's hottest political controversies, with potentially far-reaching results.

Proposition 34 is an effort by California lawmakers to place campaign finance restrictions on themselves--on their own terms. Proposition 38 represents an attempt by Tim Draper, a wealthy Silicon Valley venture capitalist, to take on California's political establishment and secure state-funded grants for children to attend private schools.

California voters will also try to resolve some of the state's unique political conundrums. Proposition 39, backed by Gov. Gray Davis and many of California's high-tech moguls, would lower the vote requirement needed to pass local school construction bonds.

And as always, interest groups will seek political advantage over their foes at the ballot box. Proposition 35, the latest skirmish in a long-simmering war among California's public and private engineers, would allow private engineers to compete for lucrative road-building projects.

Below is a description of each measure, its supporters and opponents:



Bond Act for Veterans

Would provide $500 million in bond money for farm and home aid to California veterans. The money would be used to provide loans through Cal-Vet, the state's farm and home purchase program for veterans. Participating veterans would pay the cost of retiring the bonds, $858 million over 25 years. If the veterans did not cover the full bond amount, state taxpayers would pick up the difference.

About 400,000 veterans have been able to purchase property through the program, which has been in existence since 1921. California voters have approved the last 25 ballot measures to continue funding Cal-Vet loans by renewing bonds. This bond would allow the program to assist an estimated 2,500 additional veterans.

FOR: Gov. Gray Davis; Assemblyman John Dutra (D-Fremont) and Sen. Maurice Johannessen (R-Redding), the chairs of the Legislature's two committees on veterans affairs.

AGAINST: Melvin L. Emerich and Gary B. Wesley, co-chairs, Voter Information Alliance.



Retirement for Lawmakers

Would allow California lawmakers to participate in the state Public Employees' Retirement System for the years they serve in the Legislature. Proposition 140, the term limits law enacted by voters in 1990, took that perk away from legislators, leaving them with no pension plan covering their years in office.

The annual state costs of extending the program to lawmakers is estimated at less than $1 million.

FOR: Assemblyman Brett Granlund (R-Yucaipa); Assemblyman Lou Papan (D-Millbrae); Peter Szego, American Assn. of Retired Persons; Allan Zaremberg, President, California Chamber of Commerce.

AGAINST: Lewis Uhler, president, National Tax-Limitation Committee; former Los Angeles County Supervisor Pete Schabarum, co-author, Proposition 140; Rick Gann, legal affairs director, Paul Gann's Spirit of 13 Committee.



Campaign Limits

Would limit campaign contributions and loans to California lawmakers and candidates for office, though not as strictly as Proposition 208, the ballot measure passed by voters in 1996 and since tied up in court. Would repeal most of the Proposition 208 provisions. Would also provide for voluntary spending limits, increased penalties and public disclosure requirements for state candidates.

Could cost the state several million dollars annually in processing costs.

FOR: Senate President Pro Tem John Burton (D-San Francisco), Assembly Speaker Bob Hertzberg (D-Sherman Oaks), Sen. Ross Johnson (R-Irvine), Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca.

AGAINST: Common Cause, League of Women Voters, former acting Secretary of State Tony Miller, Assemblyman Brett Granlund (R-Yucaipa), Sen. Bill Morrow (R-Oceanside).



Government Contracting

Would allow state and local government agencies to contract with private architectural and engineering firms for public works projects in all situations. The California constitution now allows private contracting only in limited situations, such as when the work is too specialized for state employees. Specifically targets all projects in the State Transportation and Improvement Program, California's long-term construction blueprint.

Financial estimates vary widely, and would depend on how much the state chose to use the contracting flexibility in building highways and other major public works projects.

FOR: California Society of Professional Engineers, California Chamber of Commerce, California State Assn. of Counties, California League of Cities, Automobile Club of Southern California.

AGAINST: California State Employees Assn., Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn., Consumer Federation of California, California State Firefighters Assn., California Federation of Teachers.



Drug Probation and Treatment

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